The last study of Revelation left off in chapter 13. We discussed the mark of the beast not being a literal “mark”, the meaning translates to “never God, never God, never God.”
Let’s finish up the wild vision that is Revelation and take it chapter-by-chapter.
Scripture: Read and color-code Rev. 14. Try not to get caught up on all the symbolism and what it means for the end times. Instead, focus instead on color-coding and marking the number of symbols and names.
I am using the study guide “Revelation: A 12-week study” by Stephen Witmer as well as online sources to fully understand Revelation. Bible I use is The Jesus Bible and my Bible Study Journal. I encourage you to look up anything that you don’t understand, as I did. Research is the key to true understanding. I am not a Bible scholar, just a woman who wants to draw closer to God and understand the Word. Lord, forgive me if I misunderstand any of you word. Amen.
Rev. 14 Observation: The Lamb and the 144,00 (1-5). Remember in chapter 7:4-8 we examined the number 144,000 being an infinite number of believers, not a literal exact number. We see this reference again. And, of course, The Lamb represents Jesus and Mount Zion represents the Gospel Church.
Rev. 14:3 “…and they were singing a new song before the throne…” no one could learn the song except the 144,000 believers. This is because only the ones with Christ in our hearts will know to recognize the lyrics. Jesus will be in glorious company. Won’t that be amazing?
Appearing again in 14:3 are the elders and the four living creatures. (Reference Rev. 4:6-9, 5:6-14, 6:1-8….)
The Three Angels and Their Messages. Rev. 6-13. Want to know what really gets God mad? His boiling point is anyone against a Jesus-centered life. Those who choose worldly goods and sin over the everlasting life promised to us if we accept Jesus Christ in our heart as Lord and Savior. This is His last straw, you could say.
The three angels are the final warning to those who can still hear the message. If the history of mankind is any indication of how humans will react in the final hours, chances are good people will STILL reject Christ. And we will see that is exactly what is prophesied to happen. The angels proclaim the everlasting Gospel.
In Rev. 14:10 we read “God’s wrath”. This version of “wrath” is translated from the Greek word “thymos” which means ‘volatile, passionate anger’. So, He isn’t just mad; He is boiling-hot-mad. This translation of wrath is mentioned 11 times in the Bible, 10 of which are found in Revelation. To say God has had enough of mankind’s sinful ways is an understatement. In the New Testament, sometimes the Greek word “orge” is translated to “wrath” but it has a different meaning, ‘anger from settled displeasure’. It’s like being upset at someone but not so mad you want to throat-punch them versus actually throat-punching them then kicking them while they are down.
Rev. 14:13, “Blessed are the dead…” If you are keeping count, this is the second of the seven blessings found in Revelation. Be sure to circle “Blessed”.
The Harvest of the Earth. Rev. 14 starts with the statement, “Then, I looked, and behold….” This is a statement to says, “pay attention to what I am about to say because it is important.” John uses this kind of statement throughout the book. The following are warnings of the impending judgment to come. Warnings haven’t worked and now the judgment is ripe for harvest. The sickle represents harvest time and the winepress is a metaphor for God’s wrath—He is harvesting the wicked and pressing them like grapes in a winepress. John is using symbolism that the people of his day would understand.
Rev. 14:20: 1,600 stadia means 184 miles in today’s terms. The blood flowed from the horse’s bridle for 184 miles.
Stating and restating is a common theme in prophecy scripture. Rev. 14 is the battle of Armageddon, whereas Rev. 15 restates God’s judgment in more detail.
Scripture: Read and color-code Rev. 15.
Observation: Here are some key elements and their meanings:
- The seven plagues (Rev. 15:1) is an Old Testament reference (remember, it all comes back to the Old Testament) in Leviticus 26:21, “…I will continue striking you sevenfold for your sins.” This is the last of the judgment. And again, we see the word “wrath” (throat-punching kind of wrath).
- Rev. 15:2, The sea represents God’s glory mixed with fire for his rage. Many of these images also appear in the book of Exodus.
- Rev. 15:2, “…those who had conquered the beast…” in other words, those who have stayed faithful to Christ and not been swayed by the lies of the beast.
- Rev. 15:2, “And they sing the song of Moses…and the song of the Lamb…” This is a perfect union of law (song of Moses) and Jesus’ love (song of the Lamb). Believers will understand both the law and love that comes from knowing Christ.
- Rev. 15:3-4, notice the song. Notice how the song is focused strictly on God. “Your” is stated 6 times.
- Rev. 15:5, “Sanctuary of the tent” refers to the Tabernacle of testimony. In 15:8 scripture says the Sanctuary (or Tabernacle) is filled with smoke. Old Testament reference in Exodus 40:34-35 states Moses couldn’t enter the tent because of the “cloud and the glory of the Lord filled it.” This also indicates that no one was allowed to enter this holy place.
Scripture: Read and color-code Rev. 16.
Observation: The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath.
- The bowls represent the third woe from Rev. 11:14.
- The first angel poured painful sores upon the earth. This could mean literal sores, but since so much of Revelation is symbolism I feel this could be a metaphor for pain throughout the earth.
- The second angel poured into the sea “blood of a corpse and everything died”. Turning water into blood is also a common theme throughout the Bible.
- The third angel poured into the rivers and springs and turned them to blood.
- Rev. 16:6, “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink…” I think this is an interesting reference to those who delighted in killing believers (this could be the blood of the believers). God gives them (the saints) blood to drink because they delighted in killing believers and refused to drink the living water of Christ.
- The fourth angel pours his bowl on the sun and the warmth becomes a curse with scorching heat.
- The fifth angel poured out darkness. Perhaps this could be in the form of an eclipse. Remember at Christ’s crucifixion, there was a great eclipse of darkness too. (Luke 23:44-45)
- Most notably, “they did not repent of their deed.” Still, refusing to accept God!
- The sixth angel pours out onto the Euphrates River to dry it up. Back in John’s day, the Euphrates was an important river and trade route. If it were to dry up it would be turned into a road “to prepare the way for the kings from the east.”
- The term “three unclean spirits like frogs” is a reference to the ancient Jewish belief that frogs were unclean. John uses this reference to reinforce how unclean these spirits really are.
- Rev. 16:15, “Blessed is the one who stays awake…” This is the third blessing of Revelation. Be sure to circle this. The statement, “…keeping his garments on…” is advice to put on the garments of spiritual righteousness. In other words, stay awake and put on your armor and not become caught naked, or without the covering of God. Don’t be naked like Adam and Eve. They tried to rely on their own understanding and lived apart from God and found themselves naked in the garden. (Gen. 3:7). They hid from God not because they were literally naked but because their sin was showing. They were “naked” without the covering of God. Whoa!
- Rev. 16:16, “…the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” The antichrist will lead the world against Christ. Whether Armageddon is an actual place or not is up for debate but it could also literally mean the Valley of Megiddo, which is north of Israel. Over 200 battles throughout history have been fought in this region. And when the day comes Armageddon could actually be named something else to us.
- The seventh angel poured his bowl in the air, “from the throne, saying, “It is done!”” Jesus’ last words on the cross were, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) This is a powerful reference because when it was said on the cross this meant our sins are paid in full, finished. Now, “It is done!” means the punishment is done, judgment will now begin.
- Hail rains down upon the earth. Hail has played a part in God’s judgment many times in the Bible including in Exodus 9:26, Joshua 10:11, Isaiah 28:2, and Ezekiel 39:22.
Scripture: Read and color-code Rev. 17.
- Rev. 17:3, The woman riding on the beast is the same woman found in Rev. 13:1 with seven heads and 10 horns. She is supported by the political power of the beast and his authority. She is not fooling God as she is “full of blasphemous names”. But John is called out by the angel for admiring her (“I marveled greatly.” 17:6). John was marveling because she even fooled him with all her dazzling jewels. She will fool many on earth as well. She appears to be perfect and have the “faith” everyone admires. Beware of the women who seem to have it all, faith, money, fame. This is a false religion. Do you recognize anyone like that today?
- The deadliest mark of the beast is that of corruption. It’s the total lust for power. Rev. 17:5 “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of eath’s abominations.” To understand much of scripture is to understand the history and society of the time. Roman prostitutes often wore headbands with their names written on them. Despise her glamour, she is nothing but a prostitute. Contrast this woman in chapter 17 with the women in Rev. 12.
- Rev. 17:10 Seven fallen kings (or kingdoms) are Egypt, Babylonia, Medo-Persian, Greece; “one is” John’s day Rome; “the other yet to come” represents the revival of Rome, and “an eighth belongs to the seventh, and it goes to destruction,” (17:11) which will be the antichrist. The antichrist will be born out of the revival of Rome, or a city like it.
- Who are the Babylonians? Babylon was a city on the Euphrates River. These people cruelly conquered Judah. Babylon was the essence of evil to the Jewish people. Babylon equals idolatry, blasphemy, and persecution. The Babylonian religion was founded by the wife of Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah. She gave birth to Tammuz. She also tried to claim the glory by pronouncing Tammuz as the savior and falsely claiming he was conceived miraculously. In Ezekiel 8:14 we read the protests of the weeping ceremony for Tammuz. Tammuz is the Canaanite name for Baal. Remember, Baal is mentioned in the letters to the 7 churches in Rev. 2. Pause for an a-ha moment.
- Rev. 17:7-14 goes on to tell the tale of their final destruction. “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14)
- Rev. 17:9 calls us to be wise. “This call for a mind with wisdom…” Be wise, ladies.
- Rev. 17:16 The 10 allies of the antichrist will turn on the prostitute, as they always turn on each other. They used her, now they will betray her. Typical.
- Rev. 17:17 God uses this betrayal to his advantage. He uses them to carry out HIS plan. Isn’t that amazing? They are evil and back-stabbing but God is up to something and He uses them when they think they have the upper hand!
- Rev. 17:18 In John’s day “the great city” was Rome but could be a different city during the end times, the revival Rome or a Rome-like city.
Scripture: The Fall of Babylon. Color-code and read Rev. 18.
- Another angel appears and sings praise that Babylon has fallen. Rejoice!
- Babylon’s falling is the fall of the anti-religion and symbolizes commercialism and greed. The fall of Babylon is symbolic of all systems of evil and corruption of the world.
- Then, “another voice from heaven” calls out more warnings to not take part in their sins or you will share in their plagues. Materialistic things and greed are a lure of this world. It’s a “material world” after all (Thanks, Madonna). We must constantly guard against this threat and not put our value on things.
- “Pay her back as she herself has paid back other and repay her double for her deed.” God will give Babylon what she deserves, double. Don’t you worry about that, she will get what is coming to her.
- Rev. 18:8 Payback will be sudden and swift with fire that burns so hot everyone must stand far away from it.
- Rev. 18:11 “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn for her…” These are those who sell luxuries, not necessities; those who place value on those things. They put a high value on money. It’s the complete disregard for God’s blessings.
- “…and slaves, that is, human souls,” equals human trafficking. These evil people make money from selling human lives to the highest bidder. They profit from others (men, women, and children) being sold into a life of misery, sexual immorality, and torture.
- Rev. 18:16 Hell will be a place of unfulfilled desires; the fall and sorrow of Babylon’s commercialism is selfishness. “For in a single hour, all this wealth has been laid waste.” Rev. 18:17
- Rev. 18:20 “Rejoice over her…” Christians shouldn’t rejoice in the face of destruction but we are told to rejoice in the righteous resolution of God’s judgment on Babylon.
- Rev. 18:21 It is a terrible thing to sin but it is more terrible to lead others to sin. (Matthew 18:6) “…would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Someday the “great” world system will be “thrown down” and “found no more”. It’s not a place or a one-world government but an idea of commercialism and idolatry of things.
- Rev. 18:23 The word “sorcery” in Greek translates to “to prepare drugs”. Commercialism is an addiction, like actual drug addiction. Who isn’t guilty of “retail therapy”? I know I have been. The lure of material things to make one happy is like a drug addiction. So, we see Babylon as a metaphor for the world system of commercialism. John used an Old Testament city and religion to convey his message to those in his day so they could relate.
Whoa, that was a lot to take in. I am going to stop here and continue in part 2 where there is rejoicing in heaven and Jesus will reign on earth, Satan will be thrown in hell, and all is quiet for a time. But, there are still lessons to be learned. Because history tends to repeat itself.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me follow you, not the world. Always Christ, only Christ, forever Christ. Give me discernment to see the false prophets, the antichrist, lay down my retail therapy, and battle the beasts in my life. Help me put on the armor of faith to battle Satan’s deceitful ways. In God’s name, I pray, amen.
I love this line from Christianity.com (see the last post) so much I made a Free Printable Bible Bookmark as a reminder for you. Just click on the image below to download and print.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of Revelation, Part 2.